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Roger Allsopp breaks Channel swim record - aged 70!

Channel swimmer Roger Allsopp
Channel swimmer Roger Allsopp

Retired surgeon Roger Allsopp has become the oldest person to swim the Channel.

Roger, who is 70 years and 115 days old and lives in Guernsey, reached the French coast in the early hours of yesterday morning, landing just north of Wissant.

The previous record, held by an American, was 70 years and three days.

Roger set off from Shakespeare Beach on Tuesday morning, and the swim took 17 hours 51 minutes.

As well as breaking the record, his aim was to raise £750,000 to buy a mass spectrometer for Southampton University. The equipment would help detect cancer early.

Businessman Derek Coates, chairman of the health company Healthspan, had promised a personal donation of £250,000 if Roger completed then swim. "I had a photo of Derek Coates hanging over the side of the escort boat," said Roger. "I only had to look at that to know I couldn't fail."

He said the swim was difficult, even from the first hour. "You realise just how long you have to go," he said.

He was swept down, back up and then down the Channel again by the currents.

His success came at the end of a frustrating 10 days while he waited for the right conditions to make the swim.

This was his second Channel swim, but he said he did not plan to attempt it again.

A woman who set off the same day hoping to become the oldest woman to swim the Channel was forced to give up.

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